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Infiniti Europe Introduces High-Performance Luxury Gasoline Hybrid Concept at Geneva

Essence
The Infiniti Essence concept hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Infiniti Europe unveiled the Infiniti Essence concept car at the Geneva Motor Show. The front-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-seat, 592 bhp (441 kW) luxury coupe provides the first motor show preview of Infiniti’s gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain.

The Essence uses Infiniti’s familiar 3.7-liter V6 gasoline engine, but fitted with twin turbochargers, boosting power to 434 bhp (324 kW). The engine is equipped with a new direct-injection fuel system. The hybrid system uses a version of Nissan’s 3D Motor (also applied in the PIVO 2 electric vehicle concept), that offers twice the torque of a conventional unit.

3dmotor
Conventional motor vs. Nissan’s 3D Motor. Click to enlarge.

The performance of the 3D Motor is achieved by optimizing the layout of its electromagnetic coils and permanent magnets, and by adopting a 3D magnetic-flux-path structure to help the flux flow efficiently, according to Nissan.

Performance in an electric motor is determined by how the magnetic flux passes through the electromagnetic coil. By optimizing the layout of the electromagnetic coil and permanent magnet in the 3D Motor, it has been possible to use multi-phase current to deliver highly efficient control of the coil and effective use of the magnetic flux.

Essence2
The Essence hybrid system. Click to enlarge.

In the Essence, the motor is positioned between the engine and transmission and provides 158 bhp (118 kW) with 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque, drawing power from a compact lithium-ion battery pack in the trunk area. Because the 3D Motor operates in both propulsion and power regeneration modes, the battery pack is kept charged up.

Both the V6 and the electric motor feed their power only to the rear wheels, with two separate clutches “switching in” the engine and/or the motor as required. The Essence can operate in all-electric, all-engine or blended power-assist modes as a parallel hybrid system. In power assist mode, the full 592 hp is unleashed.

Estimated fuel consumption for the hybrid system is 8 L/100km (29.4 mpg US), with CO2 emissions of an estimated 190 g/km.

Comments

HealthyBreeze

So...if they downscaled it to a 60 Kw motor and a 60 Kw engine in a small car, would this be a good design for a PHEV?

philmcneal

for almost 600 break horsepower, that mileage is too good to be true...

ToppaTom

Exactly right.
It's a concept car; It can get any estimated mileage they want.
But just a 2 seater! No thanks.
I'll wait for the hybrid Hummer.

SJC

I had the idea for this motor years ago. It is good to see someone is working on making this design.

T2

Pros
The gearbox is at the rear, similar to a Corvette. Gives good front to back weight distribution. Also feeding the engine torque through the transmission shaft prior to torque amplification by the gearbox avoids chassis twist.

Cons
Changing gear with the electric motor acting as a flywheel on the transmission shaft before the gearbox will be lots of fun, as Tesla found out with their two-speed gearbox.
So for me that would be a show stopper right there.

Then power is turned through 90 degrees for RWD which incurs the usual 30% loss in a hypoid gear. I see that the Nissan design also employs two clutches which are liable to give maintenance and synchronise issues.
Besides which it is not clear whether the engine is provided with its own starter motor in order to avoid the surge on starting ? In the Toyota Prius powertrain a damper disc is included to take care of this situation. It takes the form of a small permanently closed clutch that has slip capabilities to counter those possible torque surges from the engine.

As I have written before, connecting an internal combustion engine through a multi-ratio gearbox may be a good way to use its torque but it is a very poor way to utilise its power.

If mechanical engineers are going to continue designing powertrains, (rather than electrical engineers) and they probably will, then completely decoupling the engine is still the best way to go. The mechanical engineer can employ both front and rear 100Hp induction motors feeding into conventional differential reducers in a mechanically efficient FWD style. In that matter I believe it should be a mandatory requisite that all vehicles in the luxury class employ 4WD . Drivers should be confronted neither with issues of torque steer nor to have tires spin out on snow and ice, if the likelihood of these occurences can be simply mitigated at the design stage by the adoption of four wheel drive. But I guess that's just my opinion.

Finally the 118Kw electric traction motor is going to have to be a very useful addition to the V6 324kw engine bearing in mind that swift gear changes will be a thing of the past with this set up. Of course if you are dawdling along at 1200rpm in 4th gear then you will be within the motors 2250 rpm base speed to grab that 369lbs-ft of torque to add to the engines 200lbs-ft(sic) since, I am assuming, the full 380lbs-ft won't be available until the turbos kick in at much higher revs. Err.. and that's when you least need them. If you happen to be on the public roads at the time and not a closed course.

Bottom line "Total misuse of Technology" Makes you wonder about the level of creativity and education of whoever is supposed to be managing their powertrain Technology program. But then, even Honday has a dry pen these days.
T2

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